Cambie Street Mayham

Canada Line construction Cambie St at 48th Vancouver BC 2006_1026_1259Emily and I had a dinner and movie date tonight. I wanted to see Once, but it was only playing at the Park Theatre on Cambie. No problem, that’s only a short bike ride from work and even though Cambie Street is a war zone with all the Canada Line construction, I thought it should be easy enough to get there. And it was, but I wasn’t prepared for the sight that awaited me.

Along with the movie, I was hoping to eat at Tomato Fresh Food Cafe, just up the street from the restaurant. But I noticed on there website they had moved. No problem, Om Vegetarian Restaurant was also right next door, and I can’t pass up a good vegetarian restaurant. But when we arrived we were greeted by a “Sorry Closed” and a “For Lease” sign. And it was the same up and down Cambie. I couldn’t believe the number of restaurants that were closed. We finally found a restaurant that was open – the Don Don Noodle Cafe, but even they had a sign informing patrons that they too were closing in 2 weeks. Then just before our food arrived the power went out (probably construction related) and we had to eat in the dark. Kudos the the staff or battling through and cooking meals by flashlight.

I was a bit surprised by the state of Cambie street. I knew the construction was bad, but I didn’t realize so many businesses were closing because of it. I found the carnage even more surprising because I had just read an article about the NDP trying to get support for small business owners on Cambie, but Mr. Kevin Falcon, god forgive his black soul,

denied there are fewer businesses open now than there were before construction began in late 2005. “There’s no difference in the number of empty businesses that there were before this project started and today. It hasn’t changed by one.”

Has he even walked down Cambie Street? How could he make such a statement? The Globe and Mail has an article about the affect on businesses and how many have closed already.

It’s too bad too, because once the Canada Line is complete, Cambie street will be a great location for many businesses. But for small businesses that rent their space, it makes no sense to slug it out for the next 2 years of construction. Especially when afterwards they can probably expect rent increases. I’m not sure that much can be done to help the businesses on Cambie – the NDP proposal is a bit lame.

Oh, the movie – Once, was excellent. It’s a modern rock musical and love story, although it didn’t seem like a musical. The music was great, the characters were genuine, and the story really sticks with you. A romantic movie without any of the cheese.

Photo by Stephen Rees.

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